A staircase to go flying high
Interview by Carmen Russo with Sara Maricchiolo Professor of the Emilio Greco Art School in Catania.
You know that I am always fascinated by how ideas are born and when I have the opportunity to deepen what drives a person, Sara in this case, to strongly want to realize his idea.
Here the motivation is strong and goes beyond personal satisfaction (as you will read at the end of the article). Here it is a question of affirming strongly and with a loud voice a principle: the mafia does not win! Here we want to involve the citizens not to look the other way, to keep the thought concentrated and constant to two men (but for immediate mental connection also to all those who like them died at the hands of the mafia) Falcone and Borsellino and all the men of stocks, who died for their other sense of justice.
And our sense of justice? Let’s never let him die. Here is my interview with Sara Maricchiolo that I thank so much for the idea as for its incredible desire to do.
Surely she has fully embraced our motto Maker Your Idea!
Q. Thank you for this interview, can you tell us how the project is born?
The idea was born a bit by chance. Continually updated on the latest street-art trends, I have noticed that in many parts of the world this tendency to paint the staircases with really striking effects was flourishing. So I began to think that marrying this pictorial effect with a strong social message for citizens would become very significant and would confer great artistic and social "depth" on the message itself. I then identified the place of Catania in my opinion more consonant with this intent: which place more suitable than the staircase of the courthouse? A way to remember and celebrate our heroes, men who gave their lives for Sicily: Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Q. who contributed to this project?
I spoke with one of my "super" colleague Professor Veronica Zappala and she immediately married the idea adding a fundamental contribution to the techniques to be used and the message to be given. At this point the next step was to expose the project to the principal Antonio Massimino who ... as usual ... he immediately gave us carte blanche: classrooms available, time remodulated according to needs, moral support! Approved the project by the teaching staff in March, I contacted Dott.ssa Ragazzi with whom we had already collaborated in the past for the realization of the beautiful canvas dedicated to the "minor" victims of the mafia still visible in the court of Catania. With the contacts of the President ANM (National Magistrates Association) the judge Antonio Nicastro we have exposed the project and the association has been enthusiastically available for the authorizations, the expenses of the materials and so on. The students worked on the project: Simona Sacco, Valeria Torrisi, Agata Purtrino, Sofia Arena, Peo Callozzo and Federica Massimino also collaborated with Raffaella Bartolini, Gaia Vallone and Angela Boemi. A fundamental contribution also came from the small "hand" of Roberta Ines Fazzino, a testimony to the great sense of participation and sharing of the whole project.
Q. A project of this magnitude can not but have encountered difficulties. What problems did you face during the implementation?
The first concerns come after metric and photographic detection. we realize that the staircase is much larger than our prediction but we do not lose heart and with a little ’unconsciousness and a pinch of madness we design a removable painting in panels of cartonpane painted in acrylic. The quantities were getting bigger and bigger and we felt smaller and smaller than the amount of work to be done. The message to give was clear A stairway to go upward and look with disdain at those who acted and acted disrespectfully towards legality. A staircase to remind everyone that Giovanni Falcone died for all of us, leaving us an example that we must pass on to our children. Here is the most beautiful image of our heroes inserted in the symbol of our foundations: the Italian flag is a symbol of ascent to justice.
Q. Can you give us some technical information?
Sure! The work consisted of creating 60 panels of 1 meter x 70cm to be prepared with a base for acrylic paint. Sketch and color tests on Saturday and Sunday preparatory drawing of first color backgrounds with six different shades of gray over white and black. The only link to make the map with the codes of the staircase a staircase took 1 hour: it was a real naval battle: we divided the staircase in half, F meant Falcone B..Borsellino, then the numbers of the steps and those of the panels, well 312 to be cut from 70 x 15 measure of the step lift ... in short, a job to make crazy.
D. Sara what emotions can you tell?
As the project takes shape, we have become aware of the relapse on the city and this has made us even more anxious but motivated.
At the beginning of May there is no more time to waste: at school we dedicate ourselves only to this project, we also work in the afternoons, on Saturdays and for the holidays, even the girls set aside everything.
We team up, there are moments of joy and moments of tension but we work with joy.
Once the general test has been carried out on the roof of the school, we are ready: on the 22nd it is mounted!
D. And finally we are at the fateful day in which you have created the installation
Appointment at 15 45 to the court, at 16.15 comes the first big problem: some panel heights are slightly higher than the most eroded steps so impossible to assemble!
After a moment of panic we run from our friend Francesco of the bookbinder, who in about an hour solves the problem by cutting half a cm more than 200 panels. Now it really begins to mount. 0re 17: between double-sided tape and tacks to be planted in the lava stone joints we work kneeling for hours and at 8.30 pm the staircase can be admired in all its splendor.
It is only necessary to reinforce everything and at 22 my colleague and leave the court last with an endless weariness but the emotion in our eyes.
But obviously the unexpected do not end: the bigger the work, the more the problems are, so during the night the rain causes many panels to come off. The morning of the 23rd appointment at the court at 7.30 and here we are to arrange to fix more durable panels: it takes another 5 hours! Finally at 16.30 conference at the court in memory of the judge Falcone: we are all well dressed, without traces of sweat and color we receive applause and public compliments that give strength and joy to our entire team. Artistic high school Emilio Greco in all the newspapers, on social media, thousands of shares of the photos, many choose "our" steps as the cover of the Facebook profile: a boom of moving consents.
D. therefore a great personal and professional success
Yes. But our greatest victory is to see the emotion of the beholder, nobody passes without stopping, no one can go from there without dedicating a thought and perhaps a prayer to our heroes. But not even for the gratifications, icing of the cake, comes the official request to make the work a permanent installation!
The satisfaction of all of us is infinite: we who have believed in a mad idea and have managed to make it become a concrete reality!
All this was possible thanks to the Headmaster Antonio Massimino and his team in particular the vice president Prof. M. Rosaria Leotta and the DSGA Bruno Lunares.
The images were granted for use for this blog by prof. Sara Maricchiolo